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Polymer

There's nothing quite as refreshing as a glass of beer on a hot day and nothing more disgusting than discovering that the beer has gone off in the bottle, leaving a sour, cloudy mess. To save innocent palates and Sunday barbecues, the Fraunhofer Institute is developing a new polymer powder that can quickly detect pathogens in beer before they can ruin the brew. Read More
Good things come in small packages – and sometimes in aerosol cans. To prove this, researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California are working on technology for a future generation of space telescopes that may one day see the giant instruments replaced by swarms of particles that are deployed from a can and herded into place by laser beams. Read More
In 1545 Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose sank suddenly under mysterious circumstances. In 1982, the rediscovered ship was raised to the surface in a remarkable feat of underwater archaeology that sparked decades of heroic preservation work. Now a team of scientists led by the University of Cambridge is working with the Mary Rose Trust conservation team to test a new way of conserving waterlogged wood in order to preserve the great ship and her cargo of history for later generations. Read More
Startup company Future Make 3D is developing the Polyes Q1, a 3D pen with a slew of safety features that aims to make it fun and safe for everyone – children included – to sketch out three-dimensional sculptures made of plastic. The cordless, USB-charged pen will come with standard, glow-in-the-dark, transparent and temperature-changing inks and is set to hit Kickstarter sometime next month. Read More
A team of chemical engineers from MIT has developed a new method of stimulating bone growth, by utilizing the same chemical processes that occur naturally in the human body following an injury such as a broken or fractured bone. The technique involves the insertion of a porous scaffold coated with growth factors that prompt the body's own cells to naturally mend the damaged or deformed bone. Read More
Whether they're the result of injuries, surgery or birth defects such as cleft palate, missing sections of bone in the skull or jaw can certainly affect someone's appearance. Although there are some methods of filling in such gaps, they have limitations that limit their application. A newly-developed foam-like material, however, may be able to succeed where other approaches have failed. Read More
For all the attention graphene gets thanks to its impressive list of properties, how many of us have actually encountered it in anything other than its raw graphite form? Show of hands. No-one? That's because it is still difficult to mass-produce without introducing defects. Now a team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has developed a graphene substitute from plastic that offers the benefits of graphene for use in solar cells and semiconductor chips, but is easy to mass-produce. Read More
Imagine materials strong enough to use in building airplanes or motor cars, yet are literally lighter than air. Soon, that may not be so hard to do because a team of researchers from MIT and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have developed new ultra-lightweight materials that are as light as aerogel, but 10,000 times stiffer, and may one day revolutionize aerospace and automotive designs. Read More
In a conventional camera lens, the iris consists of a set of overlapping mechanical blades that control the amount of light entering the camera. As efficient as this mechanical system is, it is too bulky and too difficult to miniaturize to be incorporated in smartphones and other compact devices. To address this, a team of researchers has used "smart glass" to create a micro-sized electronic iris that may bring much greater image quality and flexibility to smartphone cameras. Read More
In the field of regenerative medicine, one of the current areas of interest involves the use of scaffolding-like materials that a patient's own cells can be "seeded" onto. As the cells grow and populate the material, they gradually replace it, until all that remains is a solid piece of tissue or bone. Now, scientists at Houston's Rice University have taken that concept a step further, using a polymer that is liquid at room temperature, but that solidifies into a scaffold when injected into patients' bodies. Read More
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